Le Pen’s plan to ban renewables is an ‘aberration’, Macron says


LE HAVRE, April 14 (Reuters) – Marine Le Pen’s plan to ban wind turbines is an “aberration”, Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday as the French presidential campaign drifted away from the two candidates accusing each other of being authoritarian to focus on concrete policies.

Just 10 days from a runoff that will determine who leads the European Union’s second-largest economy for the next five years, polls show the centrist president is slightly ahead of his far-right rival, but the competition is s tight announcement.

While the cost of living is the main theme of the elections, energy policies are closely linked to it, and the candidates have proposed very different policies on the renewable energy sector.

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Both would boost the nuclear sector, but Macron wants France to build more wind turbines, while Le Pen – who calls wind turbines “horrors that cost us a fortune” – would end all subsidies to the nuclear sector. solar and wind energy, would apply a moratorium on both and dismantle existing turbines.

“Leaving renewable energy today would be a total aberration, we would be the only country in the world to do so,” Macron told France Bleu radio during a visit to the port of Le Havre in northern France. His plan, he said, would mean “spending hundreds of millions of euros to dismantle existing wind turbines”.

Building nuclear power plants would take time and would not cover the drop in production due to the dismantling of turbines, he added.

Le Pen argues in his election platform that strengthening the nuclear sector as well as hydroelectricity and thermal energy would provide France with the energy mix it needs.

In addition to seeking to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in general to meet climate goals, EU states have turned to renewables to wean themselves off Russian gas after the West imposed sanctions due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The French Syndicate of Renewable Energy Professionals (SER) said on Thursday that Le Pen’s plans would be “a big step backwards for our country and for the climate, by increasing our greenhouse gas emissions and our imports of fossil fuels, at the expense of taxpayers and the most precarious consumers”.

Le Pen’s team did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier on Thursday, Le Pen brushed off criticism from Macron who accused him of holding onto his “authoritarian” and extremist views, despite a softer campaign image.

“This (criticism) makes me smile because we have never had a president who has shown more signs of extremism than Emmanuel Macron,” Le Pen told France 2, citing police actions against political demonstrations, like the movement of the yellow vests.

Separately, France’s election watchdog said it had sought clarification from Le Pen’s campaign about statements it had falsely attributed to public authorities on crime and immigration, one of its main themes.

Le Pen called the move launched by the Campaign Control Commission, or CNCCEP, a political “maneuver”.

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Reporting by Marco Trujillo in Le Havre, Tassilo Hummel and Geert de Clercq in Paris; Written by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Alison Williams

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